As I suspected it would, Other Stuff kept me busy yesterday and today, so Chapter 2 isn’t yet up. For your patience, here’s a snippet from it, some not-quite-connected paragraphs.
Location: Duke’s Stronghold in the north
Arcolin has been in Kieri’s office there many times of course, but he’s realized that Kieri will probably never return. Almost certainly will never return. It feels different…
Arcolin gathered up his wet things and carried them to the kitchen, to be dried by the cooking hearth. Back upstairs, he went into Kieri’s office and looked around.
Kieri had asked for nothing from this office, from the stronghold. Things he had bought in Aarenis or Vérella: the striped rug Tammarion had chosen, a carved box with a running fox on its lid, a favorite whetstone always placed on the left of the great desk, a candleholder of translucent pink stone that glowed with light when the candle was lit, the chest in which–as Arcolin knew–Kieri’s dead wife’s armor and the children’s daggers were wrapped in Tammarion’s troth-dress. Kieri had asked for none of these.
Arcolin does the chores he’s come for, preparing for the next day’s work, for the journey south and the necessary conference with the Council, then:
The room seemed emptier than it should, emptier than it ever had.
“I’m trying,” he muttered to himself, then shook his head and went to bed.
For Kieri, of course, there was no time, that night of his departure, to think of his favorite things back “home” and ask Arcolin to send along his favorite whetstone or candlestick or any of the other things he had found, acquired, preserved over the years. But Arcolin doesn’t quite understand yet how desperate that night was. To him, the failure to ask for–or even mention–these things is a sign of Kieri’s determination to turn his back on his former domain, and those who had been his loyal followers.
The feudal oath went both ways…lord and vassal pledged to each other, the follower to obey and serve; the lord to protect. Of course, it didn’t work as well in practice as in theory much of the time, but that was the intent. So Arcolin’s feeling not just bereft at the loss of a friend and commander, as we might be, but also aggrieved at what he cannot but perceive as a breach of trust, even though reason tells him that once Kieri learned the truth of his heritage, he also had a duty to Lyonya. Arcolin is not entirely ruled by reason; he takes oaths seriously, emotionally. And although he does not entirely realize it, and although he pushes aside his sense of betrayal, he is even more determined to be ‘the good lord” to anyone he commands from now on.